Philadelphia has so many stores, but somehow we keep returning to the usual suspects. To break out of the rut, Racked Philly's Julie Davis asks local shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems. Cue the Beatles: We’re about to get a little help from our friends.
From the latest restaurant and boutique openings, to behind-the-scenes peeks at media-only events, SouthPhillyFashionista covers it all. Here, the face behind the blog, Michelle Boyles, reveals her favorite Philly shopping haunts, directing us to the city's unskippable sale racks and the best place to snag wardrobe basics.
Mia’s of Philadelphia was one of the first Passyunk shops I discovered when I moved to South Philly over a decade ago and is still a staple on my shopping excursions. High-end designer pieces, from jeans to jaw-dropping gowns, are chosen personally by the owner, who has excellent taste. But before you dig in, make a right into the store’s sale room. There’s a plethora of discounted duds in a range of sizes. I once picked up a Nanette Lepore cocktail dress for just $50, so don’t bypass the clearance rack outside on nice days. Whatever you choose, ask for my former neighbor Rita. She’ll never steer you in the wrong direction. Just up the road from Mia’s is a newer shop by two local gals called Aci Nae. Best friends and owners Janae and Monica design their own pieces and stock the shelves with hip, modern garments from other sources, as well. They’ll also do alterations on any garments free of charge! This place is my go-to for fun and funky jewelry. I even sent my husband in once on his hunt for a Valentine’s Day gift. The girls helped him pick out a chunky stacked chain bracelet that I still get compliments on.
For wardrobe basics, I always head to Macy's. As the only department store in center city, the national brand has cornered the market on staples like a black tee or a strapless bra. I’ll admit, I’m a little crazy and have been to known to decide half way through a day that I don’t like the shoes I’ve chosen for my outfit. It’s not uncommon to find me wandering the sale section on my lunch break, looking for a replacement and with such a large selection, it’s not hard to find one.
When I need something really special, I always peruse the racks of Pileggi Boutique. In my younger days, I was actually a little intimidated to go into this store for fear of overly pushy salespeople looking to make some commission. Turns out, I was crazy wrong. The associates at Pileggi are amazingly helpful and low-key. I’ve never felt pressured to make a purchase and always find that I’m given an honest opinion. The sale room here is way in the back and holds some real treasures, like a DVF maxi dress that I picked up before my honeymoon for $60.
Some items are worth investing in and for me, jeans fall into that category. Nothing looks as good on your curves as a great pair of jeans, so I’m willing to spend a little more on them at South Moon Under. The selection of designer brands is endless: J Brand, Citizens for Humanity, Joe’s Jeans—you name it, they got it. And occasionally, you can snag a pair on sale, which makes the experience that much more thrilling.